Apple, Google and other tech firms ask the president to leave smartphone encryption alone

Apple, Google and other tech firms ask the president to leave smartphone encryption alone
Getting Apple and Google to agree on anything could be a difficult task. But when it comes to protecting the smartphone industry from government intrusion, the two tech titans are willing to work together. Apple, Google and a number of other tech firms have written to the president. The letter asks him not to sign any new laws that would give law enforcement agencies the right to obtain encrypted data from smartphones.

The Washington Post obtained a copy of the letter. Signed by a number of tech firms, the correspondence pleads with the president to support privacy rights. "Strong encryption is the cornerstone of the modern information economy’s security," says the letter. Of course, the FBI sees things a little differently. Last year, after both Apple and Google said that it would offer smartphone encryption that couldn't be accessed even with a warrant, FBI Director James B. Comey said that he couldn't understand why a company would want to "market something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law."

But both the FBI and the Justice Department say that they support encryption as long as law enforcement can get to the data if necessary. But that worries the tech companies who say that in order to please the FBI and the Justice Department, they would have to add "backdoors" to smartphones that would allow the police to get to the data they want. But it would also leave handsets vulnerable to be hacked into.

Ronald L. Rivest, one of the inventors behind the RSA encryption algorithm, worries that once you loosen up security and allow law enforcement to obtain encrypted data, "you’ve done great damage to our security infrastructure...once you make exceptions for U.S. law enforcement, you’re also making exceptions for the British, the French, the Israelis and the Chinese, and eventually it’ll be the North Koreans," he said.


The issue even has those known for their strong security stances taking the opposite side. Former Bush administration senior policy official at the Department of Homeland Security, Paul Rosenzweig, says "If I actually thought there was a way to build a U.S.-government-only backdoor, then I might be persuaded. But that’s just not reality."

Thanks for the tip!

source: WashingtonPost via TheVerge

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7 Comments

1. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Surveillance of the entire world at its finest.

2. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

Hail Hydra.

3. HTCOE

Posts: 650; Member since: Nov 20, 2011

as if anything is private anymore lol

12. androtaku

Posts: 246; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

ISIS like their privacy rights in recruiting stupid people too

4. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Lol like thats gonna happen

8. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

America making laws against encryption would almost guarantee that a ton of companies will move their business elsewhere, because even if they have nothing to hide, surveillance like this should not exist in the first place, and the whole excuse for it is just that, an excuse, I mean how effective has it actually been? has it found anything? has it stopped anything? not as far as I know. If nothing else because EU and international customers will not want to do business with them.

14. Chuck007

Posts: 1410; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Let me be straight with you guys about the whole ordeal. No pretense so that I'd be on anyone's "good side". America's in trouble and I highly doubt it's propaganda. The ongoing "Holy" war between Christians and Muslims have been ongoing since the 14th and there is no immediate resolution to it. US' airstrikes on Syria only heightened the global terrorist threat that riled up numerous troops globally for ISIS. Kill one terrorist, and their family and friends (regardless if formerly a terrorist) will join ISIS just for the reason of revenge and will do anything in their power (violence aside cyber attacks that includes the control of power grids, airports, and worse yet, potential hacks for nuclear launch codes) to bring down the west. The amount of sleeper cells for terrorists are still widely unknown. Couple that with Russia and China's intentions to topple the west, then you can imagine their sea of trouble. While no doubt the finding fathers will roll in their graves over America's actions with their mass surveillance program, let's just say I can see why they're doing it. With global tensions rising to new heights since the Cold War, there's reason why the USA is getting weary and oftentimes paranoid. We've reached the point where there is no sugar-coating the hard facts.

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